Sesame seeds are the seeds from an annual herb that grows in warm climates; sesame seeds come from China, Japan, the Middle East, Mexico, and Central America. Most commonly an ivory color, they can also be brown or black with little difference in flavor, which is nutty and slightly sweet. They add their subtle crunch to both sweet and savory dishes. The seeds are also ground into a paste, called tahini, and used to make sesame oil.
4 oz. = about ¾ cup
Buy sesame seeds in small amounts; because they are 50% oil, they can become rancid quickly.
Taste for freshness before using. For a deeper flavor, toast sesame seeds lightly on the stove in a dry skillet until they're just golden brown and smell nutty.
Store airtight in a cool dark place, where they should keep for a few months.